Fact Check

Did Trump Praise COVID-19 Vaccines?

The former president reportedly called the vaccines one of mankind's greatest achievements.

Published Dec 22, 2021

 (Daily Wire)
Image Via Daily Wire
Former U.S. President Donald Trump said that the COVID-19 vaccines were "one of the greatest achievements of mankind," that "the vaccines work," and that "the ones who go to the hospital and get sick are the ones who don't take the vaccine."

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On Dec. 21, 2021, former U.S. President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Candace Owens, a conservative talk show host who claims to be unvaccinated against COVID-19. When Owens brought up the topic of vaccine mandates, Trump responded that the COVID-19 vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of mankind.

This is a genuine exchange between Trump and Owens. You can see the full interview here with a subscription to the Daily Wire.

We've transcribed the relevant portions of this video below:

Trump: "The vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind ... I came up with three vaccines, all are very good, came up with three of them in less than 9 months it was supposed to take 5 to 12 years."

Owens: "And yet more people have died under Covid this year under Joe Biden, than under you, and more people took the vaccine this year so some people are questioning..."

Trump: "Oh no the vaccines work but some people aren't taking it. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones who don't take the vaccine. But it's still their choice. And if you take the vaccine you're protected. The results of the vaccine are very good and if you do get its a very minor form. People aren't dying if they take the vaccine."

Trump's message on the vaccine hasn't always been clear. While the former president received his COVID-19 vaccination during his tenure in the White House, he never disclosed this information to the public. Trump has also made a number of comments belittling White House officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, and has engaged in conspiratorial commentary about the pandemic (a September 2020 study from Cornell University found that Trump was the biggest driver of COVID-19 misinformation).

After leaving office, however, Trump has made several comments praising the COVID-19 vaccines. A few days before this interview with Owens, for example, Trump was booed after telling former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during an event that he had received his booster shot.

NBC News reported:

That comment drew some jeers from the audience, according to a video clip of the show that O’Reilly’s “No Spin News” shared online.

“Did you get the booster?” O'Reilly asked the former president.

“Yes,” Trump responded.

“I got it, too,” O'Reilly said, eliciting more hectoring.

“Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t!” the former president then told the crowd, waving off their reaction with his hand.

In November, a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Republicans were more likely to be unvaccinated than Democrats. The Washington Post reported:

Monthly polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that for every unvaccinated Democrat or Democratic-leaning independent, there are about three unvaccinated Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. That’s in a population where each political group is about evenly represented nationally — and it’s despite the two groups being about evenly represented among the unvaccinated back in April.


“Analysis | Dear Republicans: Your Favorite President Wants You to Get Vaccinated.” Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/12/21/dear-republicans-trump-wants-you-get-vaccinated-thats-not-fake-news/. Accessed 23 Dec. 2021.

Coleman, Justine. “Unvaccinated Adults More than Three Times as Likely to Lean Republican: KFF Analysis.” TheHill, 16 Nov. 2021, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/581708-unvaccinated-adults-more-than-three-times-as-likely-to-lean-republican-kff.

Ghaffary, Shirin. “The Long-Term Consequences of Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Campaign.” Vox, 2 Nov. 2020, https://www.vox.com/recode/21546119/trump-conspiracy-theories-election-2020-coronavirus-voting-vote-by-mail.

“Why Trump’s Latest COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory Is Especially Dangerous.” Vogue, 31 Oct. 2020, https://www.vogue.com/article/trump-covid-doctors-claim-michigan-campaign-rally.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Noah Weiland. “Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump.” The New York Times, 30 Sept. 2020. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-misinformation.html.

“Trump and Candace Owens Push Jan 6 Conspiracy Theories.” Mediaite, 22 Dec. 2021, https://www.mediaite.com/news/trump-and-candace-owens-push-conspiracy-theories-about-capitol-riot-there-were-blm-and-antifa-people/.

“Trump Booed after Revealing He Got a Covid Booster Shot.” NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-reveals-he-got-covid-booster-shot-crowd-boos-him-n1286361. Accessed 23 Dec. 2021.

“Trump Pushes Back on Candace Owens Undermining Vaccine: ‘People Aren’t Dying When They Take the Vaccine.’” Mediaite, 23 Dec. 2021, https://www.mediaite.com/trump/trump-pushes-back-on-candace-owens-undermining-vaccine-people-arent-dying-when-they-take-the-vaccine/.

Trump Rejects Anti-Vaccine Talking Point in Candace Owens Interview: “If You Take the Vaccine, You’re Protected.” https://news.yahoo.com/trump-rejects-anti-vaccine-talking-134656213.html. Accessed 23 Dec. 2021.

“Trump Renews Praise for Covid Vaccines, ‘One of the Greatest Achievements of Mankind.’” NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-renews-praise-covid-vaccines-one-greatest-achievements-mankind-n1286551. Accessed 23 Dec. 2021.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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